Life Along the Atchafalaya Swamp: St. Martin Parish
St. Martin Parish has long been considered the “Crawfish Capital of the World” and the gateway to the Atchafalaya Swamp.
This parish is home to many generations of people from various cultures who have settled along the waterway of the Atchafalaya Basin over the years, dating back to Native Americans who survived from these waters. St. Martin is a region rich in intricate waterways, swamps, and prairie lands. It boasts an array of wildlife and a view that is one-of-a-kind.
The Atchafalaya Basin Swamp displays unique beauty of majestic live oak trees draped in moss, cypress knees poking through the reflective, winding water ways, and the largest nesting concentration of bald eagles in the South Central United States. It is no wonder this parish hosts some of the greatest boating events around!
The Acadian Memorial Heritage Festival and Wooden Boat Congres is your first chance to get up close and personal with a few Louisiana-crafted wooden boats. This museum-style festival highlights Cajun tradition and music and will display a variety of wooden boats in a parade along the Bayou Teche with reenactments.
Get a little antsy just watching a show? Here’s your opportunity to satisfy your inner thrill seeker. Enter the Bayou Southern Nationals Drag Boat Race in Catahoula, Louisiana in March.
If you really want to be in on the action, but not quite sure you’re ready for dare devil speeds just yet… don’t fret! You’re covered there, too. Make plans to visit in April for the leisurely classic wooden boat cruise down the Bayou Teche.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite from all the water sports, stick around for the infamous Cracklin Festival every April, and the internationally-known Crawfish Festival to follow shortly in May. Both festivals feature a noteworthy line up of entertainment, and -- of course -- the best festival food you could possibly ask for. After all, it is Louisiana! Come on down to the South and experience life a little differently in the place ‘where Cajun began.’
For more information about St. Martin Parish, any of the events referenced in this article, as well as a list of other upcoming events, visit: http://www.cajuncountry.org/
By Kandice Dequeant, a freelance journalist living in Lafayette.